Bossanova is the weakest of the Pixies’ original run of albums – it’s solid, but it’s not as engaging as their others. There are some new influences; songs about aliens, and surf rock guitar are two new facets. Kim Deal’s participation is also dialled back – she doesn’t contribute any songs and there’s nary an audible backing vocal anywhere. Often Bossanova just sounds like a watered down version of the previous record, with some of the quieter songs failing to register (‘Ana’) and other songs using noise to compensate for a lack of ideas (‘Rock Music’).
While it’s arguably the most diluted Pixies album, Bossanova still has its moments that less charismatic bands would cherish. The off-kilter chorus of ‘Is She Weird’, the dark blues of ‘Down To The Well’ and the jerky new wave rhythms of ‘The Happening’ are instances of unhinged brilliance, while the alien love song ‘Velouria’ and the catchy ‘Dig For Fire’ are the most accomplished songs.
Only the Pixies could pull of something as off kilter yet catchy as ‘Dig For Fire’ and ‘Velouria’, which makes the more routine moments of Bossanova all the more disappointing.